Terrorists aim to sow discord and division. Those behind the wave of bombings in Sri Lanka on churches and hotels frequented by foreigners on Easter Sunday, the most important day in the Christian calendar, sought to maximise the impact of their despicable actions. Who they are and the extent of their links to the global currents of religiously inspired extremism remain uncertain. But what can be stated without ambiguity is that such hatred and intolerance can only be condemned and that the world stands united with the island nation’s people. Dozens of foreigners, including Chinese, were among the hundreds killed and injured. The attacks were closely coordinated for maximum impact; three prominent Catholic churches targeted were packed for Easter services and four hotels. Officials have expressed concern that police were aware of warnings about an imminent attack, but did not take them seriously enough, claims that have to be thoroughly investigated. Intelligence sharing is a cornerstone of preventing terrorism and efforts at home and abroad have to be of the highest order. Sri Lankan official: Local militant group behind suicide blasts that killed 290 While quickly tracking down the perpetrators is important, the investigation has to also be carried out with care to ensure the sort of ethnic and religious strife that left tens of thousands dead during a brutal three-decade civil war is not ignited. Although that conflict ended a decade ago, divisions between the ethnic majority Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhist, and Tamils, who largely follow Hinduism, remain fragile. The nation of 22 million people also has sizeable percentages of Christians and Muslims. Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean along global trading routes made ethnic and religious diversity inevitable. But in recent decades, the global threat of religious intolerance has emerged, highlighted by the rise of the Muslim extremists of Islamic State, coupled with a Christian backlash. Just last month, 50 people were shot dead while praying at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, an attack live-streamed on Facebook by the alleged gunman, a white Australian. Sri Lanka has another complication in political tensions as a result of a dispute last year between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe; a presidential election later this year and parliamentary polls in 2020 are bound to keep the sides on edge. Our heartfelt sympathies go to the victims and their families. Passions are running high among the communities that have been affected. Security forces and politicians have to take care in what they do and say so as not to inflame tensions. But every effort has to also be made to ensure terrorists do not succeed in their vile goal of pitting one faith against another.